Meet the team
What is joy? Where does it come from and how can I get re-fueled by joy for my responsibilities that lay before me? I’ve been pondering these critical questions especially since accepting the role of conference director.
I know joy when I watch my grandchildren sing, “This little light of mine” for their school Christmas concert. Or when I’m out biking with friends and the weather is beautiful. And I know when I don’t feel joy, like receiving news of my brothers terminal cancer, relationship challenges and dealing with angry tenants.
I struggle to be fueled by joy. There is a temptation to be fueled by performance, affirmation, attention, accomplishment or perfection. I can feel overwhelmed, anxious and not __blank___ enough. A burnout/breakdown in 2016 has helped me prioritize attending to the needs of my soul. To be “Present over Perfect” as Shauna Niequist would say. So being present – alone with God is crucial for me to keep going. Jesus says in John 15:11 that as I abide or remain in Him, His joy can be in me and make me complete. Yes Lord fill me up! And along with David I say, “When anxiety is great within me your consolation brought joy to my soul” Psalm 94:19. How I long to quickly feel his comfort and joy.
I’m excited that along with Mike and Audrey Shamy, and Deb Hirsch we’ll also be hearing from Stephen Smith. His book “Embracing Soul Care” has been a companion book to me for the past 6 years. In fact I’ll be reading through it again this year. Perhaps you could join me? There are also some passages to read and questions to reflect upon before we gather and discuss at our tables under the resources section.
There is an additional joy we are invited to experience. The joy of seeing those we disciple standing firm in the Lord. 1 Thes 3: 8-9. Now that is very cool! What a reward to our labours and our calling to make disciples. I pray we all can feel joy and “really live” as Paul says.
However keeping our eyes on Him and faithfully walking alongside others during the ups and the downs can sometimes be lonely and difficult. We need others to share our journey, encourage us to cultivate and remind us of the sources of joy.
The bi-anual gathering of colleagues and like minded disciple-makers from Canada and around the world has been a highlight of mine since I joined staff 20 years ago. I am excited that this year’s conference will be taking place in my home town of Kingston, Ontario. Our team is working hard to provide a setting, content and space to hear from God and each other. We look forward to welcoming you and together become fueled by Joy!
Dennis Funk – Assistant Director
Bruce Narbaitz – Prayer Coordinator
Silvia Rivaldo – Registrar – [email protected]